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2013 | Smiling Watermelon
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A few months from now

by Juliemara

A few months from now I hope to read back on this post and see that I was right. That life is back to normal and things are easy to do normally again.

Right now I’m pregnant, in three months I won’t be, instead I’ll have a newborn.

This pregnancy is nothing like my first one, it is a walk in the park comparatively. At the same point last time I went on disability because the carpal tunnel syndrome had made it impossible for me to use my hands to work, or do anything for that matter. I wasn’t sleeping, I itched, I couldn’t breath, I could barley walk. This time I feel mostly great aside from a little lower back pain and the heaviness of the belly that makes doing everything more difficult and uncomfortable. And when I do try to lay on my back, even propped up on the couch it feels like Talia or Jordan siting on my abdomen, because I have gained exactly the amount of weight that each of them weighs.

I always knew I wanted to be pregnant more than once in my life, I couldn’t imagine never knowing how another pregnancy would be different. I was pretty sure I didn’t like being pregnant the first time, this time, I am completely sure of it. Not to say I wouldn’t do it again, I am a big fan of the outcome, but I am certainly not one of those women who loves being pregnant. I’ve been asked a few times if it feels different carrying one baby as oppose to two, and the answer is yes, very different. Kind of how bumping your shin or breaking your leg are very different. But the most fascinating difference of this pregnancy is the amount this baby moves. All day and all night every day, I can feel it high and low and see it most if the time. When I lay down it feels as though she’s going swimming, kicking her little legs as fast as she can. I was concerned because the movement seemed a bit erratic for a fetus so I asked my doctor about it. And she assured me that’s what babies do while growing, except when they don’t have enough room. The super quick movements is the babies startle reflex in action. The same one that makes them reach to the sky with a closed fist when laying down in the first few days after birth.

I know that the first two weeks after baby girl is born won’t be much fun. As with the twins I will have a c-section and recovery from this surgery is no walk in the park. I knew after the girls were born that this would be the case for any future births with my doctor. And although a part of me will always feel a little sad that I never got to experience natural child birth, with or without medication, I trust my doctor and her way of practicing and am ok with the plan as is. After the recovery period I am hoping that I quickly find my groove with three, and despite the busy schedule a newborn demands, try to enjoy the last two months of my maternity leave.





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My little helpers

by Juliemara





I have always been crafty and handy. As a kid I would take apart my dad’s model cars and put them back together. I loved Legos and every type of art. I loved helping in the yard, I even grew tomatoes with the seeds from a tomato my mom was cutting for dinner salads. I never actually ate the tomatoes because this was before I liked them.

As I got older I got very confident with installing shelving and curtains in each if the places I lived. I even made my sister a window valence and could put together kit furniture in minutes.

Now that I am a real adult my taste in furniture has changed but I just can’t justify the thousands of dollars good looking furniture costs, especially when it’s not exactly what I want.

For a few years I have been following Shanty to Chic blog, these talented ladies take inspiration from pottery barn and Restoration Hardwear and with the help of plans from Ana White, build beautiful inexpensive real wood furniture and accessories for every room in their house.

I can’t wait to have the time to do these kind of projects around our house and involve the girls when they get a little older. Until now they are really good helpers in the kitchen, assembling small items and changing batteries.

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30 Weeks

by Juliemara






20131213-095003.jpg30 weeks pregnant + twins + physically exhausting job = little to no blogging. I love blogging, I love keeping you all up to date on my sweet girls and what our family is up to, but I can’t seem to get my thoughts and photos organized enough to make it happen before I fall asleep as often as I use to.



I feel great for the most part, far better than I did at the same point in my first pregnancy. It’s not constantly on my mind, but I am quickly reminded of the baby growing in my lap when I try to stand, pick up toys or move through a reasonable size space that I no longer fit in. I have gained 24 pounds so far, that’s really the max and I still have two months to go, eek. People are so nice they say things like “you are all baby”, “you don’t even look pregnant aside form you belly”. Really? Because I saw my rear today, NOT PRETTY. I am so not into the pregnancy fatness this time around, and I was twice the size last time!  Baby girl kicks away all day long and goes for a swim around 10 each night, I wonder if that has anything to do with the ice cream and chocolate I eat right before I go to bed?



I have all these little bits of fun things that I want to share, but I feel so behind in sharing and the girls keep doing new crazy things every day I just can’t keep up.  Their communication amazes us daily. They have all these little fun things they say. Like “Plenty” what two year old says plenty when she has more than she can hold of anything (Jordan) or “hind you me” when something is behind her (Jordan). Talia uses her communication to clarify what she does and does not want “not my cup” if the cup of milk I hand her is anything but blue. “Close it” when I am not moving fast enough while changing her diaper, “more lovey” when one is just not enough. “What’s ‘dis called” When She doesn’t know the name for something.

They still don’t sleep all the way through the night most nights and now Talia has learned how to climb from her crib to Jordans’, head first, of course.  While away for the Thanksgiving holiday the girls learned how to climb in and out of their portable cribs which sit much lower to the ground than the ones they have at home. I knew this was the first step to the end of the crib. Which I’m fine with, since half the time they end up in our bed anyway. At least if they are in toddler beds they can come in my room themselves without me having to get out of bed to go get them. And, I LOVE their toddler beds, which have been patiently waiting in the basement since before they were born. Our doctor recommended that if they climb out of their crib to just put them back in, if they fall on their head they will probably only do it once.

They are the most loving little people, they love to snuggle and hug and I could kiss and squeeze them all day long.

More of my ramblings later and maybe a coherent helpful post someday too.

Thanks for following along!

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Abbas toy

by Juliemara

The girls loved their Abbas Chanukah gift



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A Whole Slew of Celebrations

by Juliemara


20131129-220445.jpgkids_channukkakids_channukkakids_channukka kids_channukkakids_channukkakids_channukkakids_channukkakids_channukkakids_channukkakids_channukkakids_channukkakids_channukkakids_channukkakids_channukkakids_channukkakids_channukka

This Past week was the tri-fecta of celebration in our would. It snuck up on me and for yet another year I felt ill prepared for most of it. First, there was Wednesday, not only the first night of Chanukah, but it was also my Birthday, so their were two sets of candles to light. I’m not a big birthday person I just enjoy being with family and the guarantee of cake that I will enjoy. With Thursday brought the second night of Chanukah and of course, Thanksgiving. While there are no candles for Thanksgiving the combination of the two holidays, dubbed Thanksgivakkah, which I don’t really like as a name because I cant spell or pronounce it very well, made for a very festive day all around. And Friday, the third night of Chanukah also meant we celebrated Shabbat, which in our family is like a mini Thanksgiving each week.

Talia and Jordan have been learning about Chanukah at school, from myself and their nanny for the past couple of weeks. They were pretty familiar with all the important aspects of the holiday by the time wednesday came around. And it really only took one night for them to learn that after candles comes gifts. Their excitement for opening presents almost makes you feel that extravagant gifts would be worth it, almost. Talia and Jordan get mostly small things , stickers, books, etc. My parents give them some toys and my husband parents bought them tri-cycles, but these two have pretty much everything, so we try to keep it low key.

Our Thanksgiving traditions have changed over the years. When I was very young we would travel to Atlanta from North Carolina every year to spend the holiday with my Mom brothers family. In our college years making this trip as a family became impossible with school and studying schedules so we would spend the holiday with my Dads family locally in North Carolina. For the past half decade we have been spending the holiday at a lake house outside of Atlanta. It’s easier for all of us with the little ones to be in one  place where they can all play together and be a little free outside. We are usually joined by some extended family and friends for the main event. My favorite part of Thanksgiving is our dinner service schedule, we do appetizers at 1pm, supper at 4pm and desert at 6pm. The amount of food we are capable of consuming by spreading out the courses over the whole day is quite remarkable. Kudos to my sister for starting this tradition.

And now my favorite holiday (Thanksgiving, just to clarify) has come and gone. These days I always think about what next year at this time will be like in comparison. For one, I will have a 9 month old, my other sister will be here with her family (they take turns with us and the in-laws) and who knows what else the next year will bring, I am thankful for the good that I know is coming and for the surprises that await.

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I have two…

by Juliemara

I have two kids who can’t blow their nose. I have tried every way I can think if to teach them, I even Googled ‘how to teach your kids to blow their nose’ and nothing. The snot just drips down their face until I notice it or they ask for a tissue. The ability to blow ones nose is, after the last two weeks of our lives, a milestone I am truly looking forward to.

Two weekends ago it started with Jordan, a mild clear snotty nose with the occasional sneeze. She was the happy playful toddler I am use to, by Monday morning that had changed. The stuffy runny nose had intensified, she was coughing a wet cough and had a mild fever. By now she was no longer my playful Jordan, she just wanted to be held, and had no interest in her toys. No school for Jordan. And since the girls have never been apart for more than an hour or so, Talia stayed home too.20131124-214422.jpg

I didn’t find any benefit in testing their independence this week. For three days the symptoms continued, the stuffy runny nose caused the cough, it was worse at night. The difficulty to breath left me with a toddler sleeping in my bed, tossing and turning, crying and coughing. Jordan spent several hours these nights watching curious George on the iPad while I slept next to her. 20131124-214621.jpg

The fever stayed low, but persistent. I alternated giving her allergy medicine to help with the runny nose, homeopathic cough medicine, which I’m not sure does much good and homeopathic cold tablets, which I truly believe if given with the correct consistency do help improve cold symptoms. The reality of the situation is colds are a nuisance, there is not much that can be done to fix them, you just have to wait it out. But I know that being able to blow out the boogies from a badly stuffed up nose makes a world of difference.


On Thursday, without much improvement, I decided it was time to see the doctor. Turns out a bad cold with a low fever = ear infection, two to be precise, one in each ear. Wow, I feel like a bad parent for letting it get so bad. The next day the cough and runny nose cought up with Talia, and by Monday she had also maintained a low fever for several days, so back to the doctor they went. Talia also had an ear infection, because I cought it earlier it wasn’t as bad. Now both girls were on twice a day amoxicillin. 20131124-214631.jpg

The doctor who saw Talia let us know that Publix pharmacy provides the generic amoxicillin free of charge. Apparently free prescriptions for kids is a fairly common occurrence for pharmacies. You should check with your pharmacy to see if they offer this benefit to their customers.
The following Wednesday both girls were fever free for +24hours so it was back to school. The cough and an on off runny nose persist, but I guess that’s just par for the course of being a toddler in the winter.
All I can do is try to be more germ vigilant, and hope that the worst of the winter sicknesses have come and gone for our family.


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How I can help

by Juliemara


I have a reader out there who also happens to be a neighbor and have twins. I’ve met her only once while on a walk with her family but she told me about a great baby night nurse that helped her and her husband get their newborns on a schedule. Since meeting her I’ve met half a dozen new moms and moms-to-be that have asked me for a night nurse recommendation. If you are my neighbor will you please comment with your night nurses info so I can pass it along! Thank you!

New moms and pregnant women are always asking me questions about my pregnancy and how I mange the day to day and specific issues of caring for babies and toddlers. Maybe having two makes me appear to be an automatic expert, maybe they like how they see my kids behaving, or maybe the candy coating I put on top of my answer to the question ‘what’s it like having two?’ makes others want to follow suit.
Being pregnant again with two little ones in tow has sparked many a conversation lately about finding a rhythm. I am a big believer in routine and rhythm. For us it has and continues to be the only way that my husband and I get the relaxation and sleep we need to be good parents. Every time we divert from the routine we pay for it in the form of an afternoon with no naps or an interrupted nights sleep.
Even with the bad that comes from a broken schedual, we still do it every now and then because life dosent always cooperate with schedules.
My wise older sister gave me a great way to think about schedule and routines, be flexible, like a rubber band. Have a routine, use it and stick to it, but be confident that if you stretch from the regular routine you can bounce right back into it or it may change slightly as your child grows.
There is so much info out there on what is the right or best way to care for your babies. Through my first experience with newborns I found the weekly emails sent to me by babycenter.com, whattoexpect.com and enfamil.com were very helpful. By registering on these sites I received emails with information relevant to the development of my girls on a weekly basis. As I sit in the doctors waiting room writing this I heard on the health tv of a text alert service with 3x weekly texts related to your babies developmental stage. I haven’t tried this service but it sounds super easy and plan to when baby #3 arrives. You can sign up easily by texting baby to 511411.
I also leaned heavily on my twin moms Facebook group for support and a large variety of ideas for coping and caring. One of the many things that nothing can prepare your for is the solitude of having a newborn. It is very challenging to get out and about with a newborn, often for a few months. As wonderful as it is the have the baby in your arms that you have waited so long for, it is a lot of work, around the clock, with not many extended stretches of sleep, little time to make hearty food and combine that with all the hormones the complete change in life from being about you to being completely about your baby can take a toll. It can feel lonley, frustrating, endless. Visitors helps but an hour or two fly by in a blink. When it seem like an impossible task remind yourself that this too shall pass, it will get easier. There will be new challenges but there will also be rewards, the first time your hear ‘mama’, when they learn to hug you back, when they finish the sentences in their favorite book.

There is no right way to parent, babies and children are flexible, you have to do what works for you. Listen to the advise and suggestions of those who have been down the road before you, try what you want, don’t be afraid to try something else, and remember that as babies grow their needs change, be open to the change. And google is always there to help!


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Reasoning with a two year old

by Juliemara


We had a family of friends over for dinner whom had us at their home the day before for their daughters birthday party. She is just a few weeks younger than the girls. Talia was having a fit when our guest started playing with a stuffed doggy that actually belong to Jordan but had been with her all day. Through the whining and tears I explained to her that when we were at Livia’s house all the toys she played with belong to Livia and she didn’t get upset with Talia playing with them. I reminded her of a few specific toys that she had played with. She looked at me, stopped crying and went on with life. I am so proud of my girls for remembering the things they do and starting to be able to understand how these acts relate to one another. I learned from my sister, who has older children, that reasoning with a toddler is a useless task, but it is still important to teach and explain to them why things are they way they are, hence my little lesson on sharing. Had she continued her little tirade I would have just ignored her and she would have gotten over it sooner or later, but she understood me and moved on. They are such good girls.


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Good morning

by Juliemara


Have a great week.

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Three feet tall

by Juliemara








We added another mark to the vintage ruler growth chart I made last year to keep track of the girls height. This was the third mars the first was at one year old and the second at 18 months. I can’t believe how much they grew in the past six months. I knew their little legs were looking longer but a whole inch longer! The girls are both 3 feet 1/16th inch tall.
We go for their two year check up at the end of the month where we will get their official weight. When I weighed them last week they both weighed 24.6 pounds. It’s probably somewhere in the middle of what kids their age weigh.
Another year, another inch, time is racing and I am loving every minute of it. It will be fun to see when baby girl number three lands on the growth chart at the same ages.

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